Penalties Under A.R.S. § 13-3405 – Possession of Marijuana

Possession of any amount of marijuana without a valid Arizona Medical Marijuana Act card is a felony under Arizona law. A.R.S. § 13-3405 defines the range of penalties for possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Simple possession, that is, possession of a small but usable amount of marijuana for personal use, is a class 6 felony, and may be designated a misdemeanor by the court. Possession of any amount of marijuana over two pounds, the threshold amount, is a felony offense. The seriousness of the felony charge is tied to the amount of marijuana in the person’s possession.

• 2 pounds or less: Class 6 felony
• Between 2 and 4 pounds: Class 5 felony
• 4 pounds or more: Class 4 felony

Possession of marijuana for sale is a more serious offense. A person can be charged with possession for sale if the officers who conducted the investigation find evidence that the person was planning to sell the marijuana. Some examples of evidence the officers look for are the amount of marijuana in the person’s possession; the amount and denominations of cash the person is carrying; whether the marijuana is packaged for sale; whether the person has a scale or some other instrument used to measure quantities of marijuana. The penalties for possession of marijuana for sale are also tied to the weight of the marijuana in the person’s possession.

• Less than 2 pounds: Class 4 felony
• Between 2 and 4 pounds: Class 3 felony
• More than 4 pounds: Class 2 felony

Transportation of marijuana is charged when the police have reason to believe that a person is importing or transferring marijuana for sale. Like the other sections of the statute, the seriousness of the charge is tied to the weight of the marijuana.

• Under 2 pounds: Class 3 felony
• Over 2 pounds: Class 2 felony

As you can see, transportation is a very serious offense.
If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of marijuana, call us today. Our attorneys are familiar with these cases, and frequently achieve good results for even the most serious marijuana related offenses.

What You Need To Know About Resisting Arrest Charges: A.R.S. § 13-2508

Resisting arrest is one of the most commonly charged offenses in the country, and Arizona is no exception. In fact, in some cases a person has committed no other crime, should not have been arrested, and may still have committed resisting arrest and be found guilty of that charge.

A.R.S. § 13-2508 is the Arizona statute that defines resisting arrest. It holds that a person commits resisting arrest when they intentionally hinder a peace officer from making an arrest. Resisting can be either active, such as threatening or trying to fight an officer, or it can be passive, such as locking up or going limp.

Resisting arrest can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether the resistance was passive or active. In cases where the resistance was passive, the resisting arrest charge will usually be accompanied by an aggravated assault charge, as harming or attempting to harm a peace officer is its own crime.

Body-worn cameras are now common, and many arrests are filmed. For people charged with resisting, this can be good news. We have seen cases where resisting charges have been tacked on with little or no basis. In one of our cases, our client was charged with actively resisting for spitting on an officer. When we reviewed the body-cam footage, we found that our client had been placed in a choke hold and involuntarily drooled on the officer’s arm. We were able to get those charges dismissed.

If you or a loved one has been charged with resisting arrest, please call us today. We offer free consultations and are familiar with these types of charges.

Involuntary Commitment for Mental Health Treatment

Involuntary commitment for mental health treatment is often an extraordinarily confusing and frightening experience for patients and their families. Generally, this process starts when the patient has a break, a mental health episode that causes someone to be concerned enough for the patient that they contact police or mental health services. That call triggers a short period of commitment for evaluation. If, during the evaluation period, behavioral health experts determine that the person is a danger to themselves or others, they may file a petition for court ordered treatment.

When a petition for court ordered treatment is filed, a hearing will be scheduled where the Court will determine whether the person is a danger to themselves or others as a result of some disability, and whether that person is unable or unwilling to seek treatment voluntarily. If the Court determines that both are true, it may order the person to receive treatment. Under A.R.S. § 36-540 the Court has three options:

  1. Outpatient treatment: The Court may order the patient to receive treatment on an outpatient basis. The patient will be assigned a contact to ensure that they are following their treatment plan.
  2. Inpatient/outpatient: The Court may order the patient to receive treatment consisting of both inpatient and outpatient care.
  3. Inpatient treatment: The Court may order the patient confined to a behavioral health facility for treatment.

Court ordered treatment programs are in effect for one year, or until the patient is determined to be voluntary.

Often, when patients or their families are told that a doctor has filed a petition for court ordered treatment and are confronted with this statute, they come to the conclusion that the patient may end up confined to a behavioral health facility for a year. This is rarely the case. Arizona’s mental behavioral health services are designed to stabilize and release patients. Only in extreme cases, or in cases where the patient has a pattern of abandoning treatment, would a long period of commitment be ordered.

If you or a loved one are the subject of a petition for court ordered treatment, please contact our firm today. Our attorneys are familiar with this process and can advocate on your behalf.

Fraud Schemes and Artifices, A.R.S. § 13-2310

Fraud Schemes and Artifices, A.R.S. § 13-2310, is an incredibly short, incredibly broad, and incredibly serious charge. It reads: “Any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions is guilty of a class 2 felony.” There is a lot to unpack in that one sentence.

Fraud schemes is often charged when the State believes that a person has stolen something using a plan or trick, and that they have used that plan or trick more than once. Some common examples of this include using telemarketing to solicit investments in phony companies, foreign lotteries, or exchanging checks for money orders.

Fraud schemes can also be charged when a person has committed some other, lesser offense, more than once. For example, if a person uses another person’s credit card, they can be charged with credit card fraud, which can range from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 5 felony, depending on the dollar amount of the purchase. If that person has used more than one person’s credit card, they can instead be charged with fraud schemes, and three class 1 misdemeanors can become a class 2 felony.

If you have been charged with Fraud Schemes and Artifices, please contact us today. This is a serious charge, and these cases can be very complex. Our attorneys are experienced in fraud cases, and will take the time to help you understand the nature of the accusation, and the best way to proceed.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona

In Arizona, domestic violence is never charged on its own. The State uses the domestic violence (DV) tag as an enhancement for criminal charges where the alleged victim has some familial relationship to the defendant. The domestic violence tag can be applied to a wide variety of offenses, but is commonly applied to:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Criminal Damage
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Stalking

If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you should be aware of four things: First, your release conditions will likely instruct you not to return to the scene of the crime, and not to have any contact with the alleged victim. These release conditions will be enforced even if the scene is your home, and the victim your child or spouse. Second, if there were any firearms at the scene they may have been seized, and they can be held for up to six months. Third, if you have two or more prior domestic violence offenses you may be charged with a felony, even if the crime you are charged with is a misdemeanor. Fourth, federal law prohibits the purchase or possession of firearms by anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense if the crime involved the use or threat of force.

If you have been charged with any crime and the State is alleging that it is a domestic violence offense, you should call us today. Our attorneys have experience dealing with domestic violence charges and will be happy to provide a free consultation.

Possession of Marijuana/Medical Marijuana/Prop 200

Possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony in Arizona, though it can be designated a misdemeanor by a judge. The penalty for possession of marijuana can range from no conviction at all to several years in prison, depending on the number of prior felony convictions and drug strikes a person has on their record.

Arizona’s Prop 200, ARS § 13-901.01, makes possession of marijuana a probation mandatory offense for anyone not convicted of two or more drug crimes, provided they have no history of violence. This means that if a person has no prior drug convictions, and has never been involved in a violent crime, they will not be sentenced to prison if convicted.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona. If a person is in possession of a valid Arizona Medical Marijuana card, they will not be prosecuted for being in possession of small amounts of marijuana. Arizona does not recognize medical marijuana cards from other states. Possession of any amount of marijuana in Arizona without a valid medical marijuana card from Arizona is a crime. This can lead to some absurd results, like a New Mexico state citizen purchasing marijuana legally with a valid New Mexico medical marijuana card, travelling to Arizona with a small amount of marijuana, and being convicted of a felony for possession of marijuana in Arizona.

If you have been accused of possession of marijuana, or any drug, call us today. Our attorneys offer free consultations and can usually determine whether a person is eligible for probation under Prop 200.

DUI Charges: Reasonable Suspicion and Dismissal in Phoenix

Driving under the influence cases begin with the traffic stop. For police to initiate a traffic stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is engaged in criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop can be based on a huge number of factors, but generally the stop must take place because of a moving violation or otherwise poor driving performance. One of the best ways to beat a DUI charge is by finding an issue with the traffic stop.

I worked on a case where the driver was stopped for failing to use a turn signal. Like many DUI traffic stops, this one happened late at night and traffic was very light. The officer who initiated the stop described no other moving violations or bad driving. After the stop and an investigation, our client was charged with driving under the influence and arrested.

We interviewed the officer and asked him whether he had seen any other indication that our client was impaired before he pulled him over. The officer confirmed that the only reason he had pulled our client over was because of a failure to signal. We then asked him whether there were any other cars on the road at the time of the stop. There were not.

Under Arizona law, a turn signal is only required when a driver’s turn or lane change would affect other traffic. Because there was no other traffic on the road, our client’s failure to signal was not a traffic violation. In a pretrial argument, we were able to convince the judge that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop, and that his mistake was not reasonable. As a result, the rest of the investigation was suppressed, and the State had no choice but to dismiss the charges against our client.

We examine all of our DUI cases for these kinds of issues and use them to get the best possible results for our clients. If you have been charged with a DUI, call us! We offer free consultations and are available to discuss your case whenever it is convenient for you.

Written By Attorney Anthony Strong

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

You’ve been charged with a crime.  It may be something relatively minor, such as simple assault.  Or something much more serious, such as fraud, robbery, manslaughter or another crime that has the potential to be life changing.

You’re going to be in for the fight of your life, trying to do everything you can to protect your freedom.  But you can’t do it alone.  You know you’ll need the best possible criminal defense lawyer for your situation that you can afford.

So what do you do to find that person or that firm?

First, you got to determine what your legal needs will be.  A minor charge may only require a consultation from an attorney about how to best proceed.  But make no mistake, if you are facing a serious charge, you will want the full services and attention of top flight legal representation.

Then you’ve got to decide what type of defense attorney you’ll need.  It may seem obvious, but if you’re charged with a federal crime, then you’ll want an experienced federal defense attorney.  A state level charge means you will probably want to seek out someone with relevant experience in that type of court system.  This is important because when you’re prosecuted at the federal level, you’ll be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office, which has a lot more time and resources to put into your case.  It also pays to try and find a specialized attorney who has experience with exactly the type of charges you are facing.

You’ll need to figure out what your costs are going to be, which you can accomplish after an initial consultation with one or more attorneys who may represent you.  If you can’t afford the costs associated with a law firm, you may need to talk to a public defender, who are assigned by the courts to represent people with limited resources.

Finally, while there are many highly skilled attorneys out there, you need to make sure you find one with the qualities that are important to you as well.  Do you want someone who is compassionate?  A bull dog?  A strong negotiator?  What kind of reputation do they have?  What’s going to make you feel like you can trust this person to represent you the way you want to be represented as you face the tests you will encounter going forward?

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.

Bank Fraud Crimes Can Take Many Forms

As thieves become more sophisticated than ever when it comes to cheating individuals and banking institutions out of money, law enforcement has applied more and more resources and activated complex operations to catch would-be thieves.  This aggressive stance also applies to the court system, where it is not uncommon to see lengthy prison sentences be handed down upon conviction.

Although more and more criminals are attempting to circumvent the system, just because you are charged with a banks fraud charge, does not mean that you are automatically guilty.  However, banks fraud cases can be extremely complicated and require a lot of financial forensic work, so if you are facing any kind of fraud charge, it is important to seek help from an experienced banks fraud attorney.

Banks fraud can take on many forms, including:

  • Embezzlement
  • Stolen checks
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit card fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • ATM thefts
  • Accounting irregularities
  • Forgery

Because the nation’s banking system is highly complex and interconnected, there are many other types of fraud that are attempted on a regular basis as well.  For example, a person may not only attempt to acquire money from a bank illegally, in some instances, they may also pose as a bank in an attempt to prey on unsuspecting customers.

It’s important to note that banks fraud can be considered a state level crime or a federal crime, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accusations.  However, because banks are protected by federal statutes, most times a bank fraud charge will be considered a federal criminal offense.  That means penalties can be particularly harsh with less wiggle room to plea down a charge in an effort to gain a reduced sentence.  However, a defendant may be able to craft a defense strategy that involves helping the bank recover as much of their assets as possible, leaving open the possibility of an agreement that benefits both parties.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.

A.R.S. §4-244 (34) Underage Drinking and Driving in AZ

According to the law known as A.R.S. §4-244 (34) Underage Drinking and Driving in AZ , it is illegal for anyone who is under the age of 21 to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle while there is any type of liquor in their body.

It doesn’t matter if the person is impaired by the alcohol, or not. This means, you could be completely sober and capable of driving, but still receive a violation if you have alcohol on your breath and are under the age of 21.

Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving

In the state of Arizona, an underage DUI is also referred to as a Baby DUI. While the charges alone don’t require time in jail, this is typically on the case for first time offenders.

However, an individual facing these charges may still be sentenced by a judge for up to six months in jail. Other charges related to this offense include fines of up to $2,500, as well as an 84 percent surcharge. It’s also mandatory that the individuals license be suspended for a period of two years.

Legal Defenses for Underage Drinking and Driving Charges

If you are facing these charges, the best thing you can do is contact an attorney for help. They will likely go over some of the defenses for this situation, which include:

  • No reasonable suspicion for you to be stopped.
  • No actual physical control of the vehicle.
  • No probable cause for the arrest that was made.
  • The denial of a right to counsel.
  • An inaccuracy of the blood or breath testing device.
  • A violation of the person’s Miranda rights.
  • Incorrect or inaccurate police reports.

An attorney will be able to evaluate your case to determine if any of the above situations apply. In some cases, there are situations where more than one of the aforementioned defenses can be used. This is why it is so important to hire an attorney for assistance.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney

If you are facing underage DUI charges, then the best thing you can do is hire a DUI defense attorney who understands all the possible defenses for your situation. Someone who is under the age of 21 has their entire life ahead. As a result, the last thing they need is to have a DUI conviction on their record, which can impact their reputation negatively and have adverse consequences for many years to come.

Finding the right attorney matters. Make sure to consider the options in the local area and their knowledge of Arizona laws. A quality attorney will be willing to work diligently to help you reduce the penalties and potential consequences that you face.